Governor races

Governor races

Top GOP White House contenders make 'worst governors' list

An ethics watchdog group released a list of the 11 "worst governors" in America Wednesday and three potential White House contenders were included in the tally.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) released the names of the "11 governors who pride their self-interests over their states'" and among them were Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour (R), Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) and Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R). CREW said the 11 "violated agreed upon notions of competence, transparency and integrity."

The group compiled reports on each of the inductees, which can be found here.

Only two Democrats made the list: New York Gov. David Paterson and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. Neither is running for reelection.

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Lynch to run again as gay marriage lingers as an issue in N.H.

New Hampshire's gubernatorial election could be a referendum on gay marriage.

Gov. John Lynch (D) announced Friday he would seek an unprecedented fourth term. He came under attack recently from national conservative groups for signing a gay marriage bill into law last year.

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) sponsored a $200,000 TV ad buy that started running on Tuesday, according to the Nashua Telegraph. The ad hits Lynch on supporting gay marriage but also on taxes and spending.

"New Hampshire residents were shocked last year when they learned that Gov. Lynch had been lying to them about his position on gay marriage," Brian Brown, NOM's executive director, told the paper. "Even though he promised voters when he ran for office that he did not support gay marriage, Lynch signed same-sex marriage legislation into law."

"The job isn't done," Lynch said in announcing his decision to run again.

New Hampshire's governors serve two-year terms – none have been elected to a fourth.

The state's Republican Party called it an attempt to "cling to power."


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Republican leads in Illinois governor's race

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D) trails his Republican opponent by 10-points in a poll released Wednesday.

State Sen. Bill Brady (R) leads Quinn 43-33 in Public Policy Polling's first survey of the general election. Brady also has a 39-31 advantage with independent voters.

It seems Quinn hasn't recovered from his tough primary fight with state Comptroller Dan Hynes -- only 53 percent of Democrats said they were planning to vote for him. The governor's approval rating is at 25 percent overall. Meanwhile, a solid 80 percent of Republicans are planning to vote for Brady.

Quinn has the opportunity to define the relatively unknown Brady. Of the 591 voters surveyed, 55 percent had no opinion of him and the rest were split between a favorable and unfavorable view. 

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Wealthy executive shakes up Georgia governor's race

A wealthy real estate executive shook up the Georgia governor's race this week by promising to reach out to the Tea Party with a multi-million dollar, self-funded campaign.

Morgan County Republican Ray Boyd launched his gubernatorial run by writing himself a $2 million check. He told reporters it "is not for show."

"I'm going to try to be a we-the-people candidate. In normal times, a person like me would get ground up, but this is not normal times," he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I'm running as a Ronald Reagan Republican, but I'm going to have both sides attacking me, because I'm for term limits."

He plans to seek the backing of the Tea Party.

"The tea party people do not endorse candidates, but if they wanted to endorse somebody, it would be somebody like me," he said. "I'm very ticked off at people in our own government trying to castigate them as if they were some right wing, home-grown terrorist. That’s sickening and disgusting."

Boyd's campaign effectively matched what Georgia Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine, the GOP frontrunner, reported having in the bank this week.

Former Rep. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.) is also running for governor. He resigned his House seat March 21st to concentrate on his campaign. The primary is July 20th.

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Kasich answers charge he profited from Lehman collapse

Ohio gubernatorial candidate John Kasich (R) released his 2008 tax returns Friday -- a move that could blunt Democratic attacks that he profited from the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

His campaign also released a copy of his 2009 financial disclosure statement ahead of the Monday deadline. The records show Kasich is a millionaire.

Kasich, a former congressman, was a managing director at the investment bank before it went bankrupt in 2008. The returns show he made nearly $1.4 million in income that year, including $587,175 in salary and bonuses from Lehman. He also reported earning $265,000 as a Fox News commentator, $165,718 in speaking fees, $19,777 earned by his wife, Karen, and $61,538 from Schottenstein Property Group, his current employer, according to the Associated Press.

The Columbus Dispatch had requested that Kasich release his tax returns for the eight years he was at Lehman, but the campaign said the 2008 return was "generally reflective of his earnings for those years and declined to release more."

Gov. Ted Strickland's (D) campaign didn't buy it.

Strickland spokeswoman Lis Smith said Kasich was "insulting the intelligence" of Ohio voters "by refusing to release the details of his seven-plus years of employment at the Wall Street investment firm Lehman Brothers and his professional paid speaking appearances to special interest groups across the country."

But Kasich spokesman Scott Milburn said the campaign went beyond the financial disclosure required by campaign finance laws.

"We're doing this primarily to show that he did not profit from Lehman Brothers' demise," Milburn said. "His stock in Lehman Brothers is effectively worthless now."

Updated at 6:06 p.m.

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California AG won't prosecute ACORN

California Attorney General Jerry Brown (D) appears to have defused a potentially troublesome legal matter ahead of the 2010 gubernatorial campaign.

Brown decided not to prosecute ACORN or conservative filmmakers James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles after a video taping scandal.

The filmmakers sparked an investigation after they posed as a pimp and prostitute while secretly taping some of ACORN's California employees as they "sought advice on how to smuggle Mexican girls across the border as prostitutes," according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Brown, the expected Democratic nominee for governor, "found himself between the 40-year-old organization that has long been a favorite among his liberal voting base and conservatives who consider O'Keefe and Giles heroes for exposing ACORN."

He granted the filmmakers immunity in exchange for their full, unedited videotapes of their encounters with the group's staff. And his office's investigation of ACORN concluded the group did not violate state criminal laws in their consversations.

Brown noted that after viewing the unedited tapes "the evidence illustrates, that things are not always as partisan zealots portray them through highly selective editing of reality. Sometimes a fuller truth is found on the cutting room floor."

Jarrod Agen, a spokesman for state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, who is running as a GOP candidate for governor, said: "I'm no lawyer, but videotapes of ACORN assisting a proposed prostitution ring seems pretty illegal to me. We're not surprised that at the end of the day, Jerry Brown turns a blind eye to these wrongdoings." 

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Ehrlich to seek rematch

Former Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R) is set to announce he will face off against Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) again.

WJLA-TV reports that an Ehrlich decision is imminent, with the one-term former governor seeking to avenge a 2006 loss to O'Malley.

Ehrlich is a big get for Republicans in the state, as there didn't seem to be much in the way of an alternative. But the Republican Governors Association's (RGA) gain is is NRSC's loss. Ehrlich earlier this month suggested he was also looking at a possible run against Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.).

That didn't wind up going anywhere, and Republicans aren't expected to seriously contest Mikulski's seat unless it were to become open.


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Poizner ad targets 'benefits for illegal immigrants'

Steve Poizner is counting on worries about illegal immigration to gain ground on Meg Whitman in the California Republican primary.

In the wake of a protest march in Washington that drew tens of thousands to the Capitol, the former state insurance commissioner is set to launch an anti-illegal immigration TV ad. The 30-second spot, titled "Liberal Failure," is airing statewide starting Tuesday, according to Poizner's campaign.

"As governor, I will stop taxpayer-funded benefits for illegal immigrants. If necessary, I'll bring it to you as a ballot initiative," Poizner said in the ad, which features what looks like a Buick flying off a cliff.

The consulting firm Stevens & Schriefer Group produced the spot. Last year, the firm gained notoriety for helping Gov. Chris Christie (R) win in New Jersey.


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Lazio gets Conservative Party backing

Rick Lazio's gubernatorial bid has been endorsed by New York's Conservative Party.

The party leadership voted 14-5 Saturday on a non-binding resolution to back the former Republican congressman. Chairman Michael Long said the party "will do everything we can to ensure [Lazio's] election this November."

Their move came a day after Suffolk County executive Steve Levy, a Democrat, announced he was running for governor as a Republican.

The backing of the Conservative Party is essential for any non-Democratic candidate to win statewide in New York, but Levy's campaign downplayed the significance of the vote.

"This was merely an unweighted recommendation and has little meaning until a designee is officially chosen at the convention in June,” the campaign said in a statement. "We anticipate major defections, as was the case with the Republican Party."

Lazio was once considered the presumptive Conservative and Republican nominee, but his lackluster fundraising has prompted party leaders to cast around for another candidate. As of January, Lazio had some $640,000 cash on hand while Levy reportedly has banked more than $4.1 million.

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Report: Two Georgia gov. candidates have record of 'misconduct' with female students

Georgia's crowded gubernatorial primary field may soon thin out.

Two former educators who are running, a Democrat and a Republican, both had their teaching certificates suspended for misconduct involving female students, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Republican Ray McBerry and Democrat Carl Camon fought the charges against them but their cases remain public record.

While neither man is a leading contender for their party's nod, the developments could still have a bearing on the outcome of the July primaries. That's because with so many candidates running, the campaign is likely to extend into a runoff. In which case, a couple percentage points could make the difference.

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